US phage biotech company Intralytix received a Fast Track NIH SBIR contract to develop a universal, scale-independent AI-based platform for manufacturing high titer phage preparations for clinical applications. Intralytix will receive a Phase I award of $299,672, with an option for a Phase II award of $1,498,045.
Michael Shamash (McGill University, Canada) and colleagues published a perspective in ISME Journal on phages in the infant gut. They propose a theoretical framework governing early childhood gut virome assembly and development, which depends on phage and bacterial densities and diversity. They describe how understanding infant gut virome dynamics can inform identification of therapeutic windows for phage-driven gut microbiome remodeling.
Nicole Rutbeek (University of Manitoba, Canada) and colleagues published a research article in JBC on the molecular mechanism of quorum sensing inhibition in Streptococcus by the phage protein paratox. They demonstrated an example of convergent evolution between Gram-positive and Gram-negative phages to inhibit quorum-sensing, and highlighted the versatility of small phage proteins.
Michael Roach (Flinders University) and colleagues published a new paper in F1000 Research entitled Philympics: Prophage Predictions Perplex Programs. They present a library of gold-standard bacterial genome annotations that include manually curated prophage annotations, and a computational framework to compare the predictions from different algorithms.
Kristopher Kieft (University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA) published a paper in Cell Reports on virus-associated organosulfur metabolism in human and environmental systems. They reported the discovery of 39 gene families involved in organosulfur metabolism encoded by 3,749 viruses from diverse ecosystems, including human microbiomes. Results reveal viruses as drivers of organosulfur metabolism with important implications for human and environmental health.